The Orica-Scott team has confirmed it will have a 25-rider roster in 2018, with head directeur sportif Matt White claiming the Australian WorldTour team is ‘stronger in all areas’.
On Wednesday Orica-Scott confirmed a largely unchanged 10-rider women’s roster for the 2018 season as they continue to compete at the highest level in both men’s and women’s races. Jolien D’hoore, who won 12 races this season – more than any other rider – and Tour de l’Ardeche winner Lucy Kennedy are the team’s only new signings. World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt are among those that have remained with the Australian outfit.
Adam and Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves will again lead the men’s Orica-Scott team in Grand Tours and stage races, with Caleb Ewan the protected sprinter. New signings for 2018 Matteo Trentin and Jack Bauer (both from Quick-Step Floors) will bolster the Classics squad that includes Matt Hayman, Chris Juul Jensen and Luke Durbridge. Trentin will also provide an alternative sprint strategy in hilly races, while Mikel Nieve joins from Team Sky to share his Grand Tour experience. Cameron Meyer returns to Orica-Scott as he combines track and road racing.
The team has extended contracts with Svein Tuft, Hayman, Juul Jensen, Michael Hepburn, Sam Bewley and Jack Haig. The only neo-pro for 2018 is talented Australian Lucas Hamilton, who won the Tour Alsace and finished second in the Baby Giro.
Orica-Scott drops from 26 to 25 riders for 2018, with several riders moving on. Magnus Cort has joined Astana, while Ruben Plaza has gone to Israel Cycling Academy, Simon Gerrans to BMC, Jens Keukeleire to Lotto Soudal, and Mitch Docker to EF Education First-Drapac.
“We are in a better place than we were 12 months ago in all areas,” said White in a statement from Orica-Scott confirming the 2018 roster. “One of the reasons for that is we have bought very well; our new signings definitely compliment the squad we already have in place.
“For example, Trentin and Bauer are two riders who are going to bolster our classics group and also add a lot to our sprint train around Caleb Ewan so I am sure we will see significant gains for us in those two areas.
“Obviously bringing in a rider like Nieve, who has been one of Chris Froome’s right hand men through numerous Grand Tours is a great signing for us. He will be playing a similar role here and lending his experience and support to our younger GC guys while also being very capable of winning some big races in his own right.”
A busy year ahead
The riders and staff held a get together in October in Italy to plan for 2018. As usual, the team hopes to start off strongly at the Tour Down Under in Australia but will also target the spring classics and then the Grand Tours.
Orica-Scott has yet to confirm who will lead the team at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Injury disrupted their 2017 hopes, with a knee problem costing Chaves much of the season. He used the Tour de France to return to fitness and finished 11th at the Vuelta. Adam Yates was ninth at the Giro d’Italia and 34th at the Vuelta a Espana, while his twin brother was seventh at the Tour de France and won the best young rider’s white jersey.
“The strengthening of our squad in key areas allows us to work towards clear objectives for 2018 and it’s really exciting.” White said. “Going after more Monument success and results in the Classics are definitely part of that along with stages and GC results in all three Grand Tours.
"There is only one monument we haven’t already won and that’s the Tour of Flanders, it’s possibly the hardest one to win, but we have a team capable of winning it and we want to be up there challenging. Then come the Grand Tours, we want to be competitive in all three and that includes stage wins and the general classification. It will be a busy year and we are really looking forward to it.”
The Orica-Scott men’s team for 2018: Michael Albasini (Sui, 36), Sam Bewley (Nzl, 30), Jack Bauer (Nzl, 32), Esteban Chaves (Col, 27) Luke Durbridge (Aus, 26), Alexander Edmondson (Aus, 23), Caleb Ewan (Aus, 23), Jack Haig (Aus, 24), Lucas Hamilton (Aus, 21), Mathew Hayman (Aus, 39), Michael Hepburn (Aus, 26), Damien Howson (Aus, 25), Daryl Impey (Rsa, 32), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den, 29), Roger Kluge (Ger, 31), Roman Kreuziger (Cze, 31), Cameron Meyer (Aus, 29), Luka Mezgec (Slo, 29), Mikel Nieve (Spa, 33), Robert Power (Aus, 22), Matteo Trentin (Ita, 28), Svein Tuft (Can, 40), Carlos Verona (Spa, 25), Adam Yates (GBr, 25) and Simon Yates (GBr, 25).